George Kliavkoff has had to clean up many messes left behind by Larry Scott and various events which occurred during Scott’s tenure. He now has another headache to deal with: the emerging overpayment scandal which happened under Scott’s watch.
News of this story broke a few days ago. The general timeline of events is known, but now all sorts of detailed questions remain unanswered, and the Pac-12 needs to get more facts to piece together how this happened.
“What prompted the networks to seek the initial audit, by the “industry-leading” firm, in the spring of 2017? Was that simply part of a routine practice? Was there something amiss?”, Wilner wrote.
“If the overpayments were only for “each year since prior to 2016,” why did the distributor not step forward until October 2022? (Possible answer: The Pac-12 never came clean to the partner about the overpayments.)
“Did the overpayments continue after 2016, until the partner stepped forward in October 2022?
“We’re also left to wonder why Willman and Shuken didn’t take what the Pac-12 believed would have been appropriate steps once they learned of the situation. Did the overpayments lead to a revenue figure that somehow triggered performance bonuses for executives?
“’It doesn’t make any sense,’ said a Hotline source familiar with the Pac-12 Networks’ business operation. ‘Something is definitely missing.’
“The other question, of course, is the disclosure piece: Who else knew? Or did Shuken and Willman keep the situation to themselves?
“According to the Pac-12, Willman and Shuken failed to share ‘the ongoing financial risk associated with the apparent overpayment with either the Pac-12 Board of Directors or the Pac-12’s external auditors.’”
“That statement says nothing about whether they alerted former commissioner Larry Scott.
“Is that because they did alert him and Scott failed to act appropriately? Or because the Pac-12’s public disclosure on Friday was intended to focus only on the executives and process with current relevance?”
Wilner’s questions require answers. We will see how this story develops.